Friday, March 14, 2014

Nail Biting and Anxiety

I have been a nail biting since the ripe old age of 4.
Okay at least I think I was 4.  My parents divorced when I was in kindergarten so it was before then...

I watched a family friend biting her nails. I didn't understand, wondered about it. And I did it. Not only did I do it but no one told me to stop or did anything to stop me.

I began to bite my nails as the stress around me increased. I would bite my nails so much that they would bleed.  If I couldn't bite them any lower I would begin peeling them.

Biting my nails was a way for me to escape what was going on around me.

I didn't find out until later on that biting my nails was linked to my anxiety.

When I was a young child I was diagnosed with a learning disorder.  When I got older I found out that this learning disorder was the cause of my anxiety and OCD. WHAT?
Yeah I didn't truly understand it but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

Throughout the years I would attempt to grow out my nails. I have a lovely collection of nail polish that is ever growing.  Painting my nails helps me not to bite. In fact some times I will change the polish every day (has to do with the OCD part).

Well when the New Year rolled around I said I wanted to do one thing. I wanted to stop biting my nails. I even went and purchased new nail polish. I began applying it and slowly my nails began to grow.
The bottom photo is when I received the nail polish and started my journey. The ring finger is a Zoya Pixie nail polish and honestly the texture of this nail polish helped reinforce myself not to bite. I would feel it against my lip and pull it away. I also had help from Nick who would remind me to stop, pull my hands away from my mouth, and most of all WOULD ASK WHAT WAS WRONG.

Talking about why I was anxious helped.  Taking anxiety medicine helped. 

The top photo is my nail length now with polish and the left is my nail length without polish. They are growing super fast and I have been cutting and filing them down.  Do you see the white spots? I've been cutting those out. And I've been taking some supplements each day to help.  If you see the tips of my nails those white spots and semi see through spots, low on calcium.

This has been a very long and hard journey for me.  I know that I will always have anxiety.  There isn't a way to get rid of it, I can only just manage it.  I have learned the higher my anxiety is the more pronounced my OCD is.  I have to do a balancing act.  But in all honestly sometimes it's just best to let my OCD take over to help relieve some of my anxiety. 

And the one thing I've learned is that it's okay to take medicine.  There is nothing wrong with taking medicine. I can tell you that 100% because when I am anxious and take my medicine there is a distinct difference.  And when I am having a panic attack and at that moment the life that I know stops existing the medicine helps.

It's my goal to grow my nails out longer than pictured. I've just been cutting them to get out certain defects, which many of us have.  When I first started growing out the ends of my nails were brittle, had grooves. Now they don't.  It's a healthy start.

I can't say that I am a better person because I have nails versus not having nails. I can just say that it's nice to look down and not have your nail beds bleeding because of the damage I did.

The one thing I want you all to know is to never judge someone because they bite their nails. You don't know why they bite their nails and it could be a deep lying issue.  Try and be supportive. I grew tired of people asking me why I bit my nails. It was a deeper issue than they could have ever understood.

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